In typical Ohio weather fashion, the sky seems to be struggling to choose a mood. Raindrops indecisively drop from the clouds, dotting the stairs that lead to Armstrong, while the glowing rays of the sun make me regret my choice to don a sweatshirt.

As I push open the door, the quintessential college scene meets my eyes. Nearly half of the couches and chairs are occupied, backpacks and books opened, yet the mood of the room remains casual.

Students and teachers walk past me, some heading straight to the dining area where Miami Ice has opened for the day, while others, like myself, scan the room for an open seat.

Quiet conversation is a given, headphones block out the persistent dining hall chatter, and cellphones are ever present because Snapchat and Instagram don’t take study breaks.

I conveniently sit in a chair far from an electrical outlet so instead of scrolling through Twitter and draining my already depleted battery, I tune into the sounds around me. Nearly ten different conversations play out simultaneously as students chat about everything from adding a co-major, to a club team’s latest win, to drinking games, to Spanish vocabulary, to memorization study tips, to not getting enough sleep.

As I climb the stairs to the dining floor of Armstrong, an entirely new scene reveals itself. The predictably long line is present at The Toasted Bagel and the tantalizing smell of ice cream drifts over from Miami Ice where students are patiently awaiting the sugar pick-me-up we all need on a rainy day. The noise is noticeably louder due to the television shouting the latest football scores and political arguments of the day, the crashing of metal pans at the stir fry station and the countless conversations at the tables.

I brought some homework along, so I make an attempt to study, but quickly discover that it’s difficult to conjugate Spanish verbs while sports broadcasters are yelling at you. Putting my books away, I order a strawberry smoothie and descend the stairs back to the main floor which, at least in my case, is more conducive to getting homework done.

After an hour, I’ve finished my assignment and smoothie, so I pack my backpack, zip up my windbreaker and head outside, only to find that the Ohio sky has finally made up its mind. The forecast for the moment is rain.

dattilec@miamioh.edu

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